After the demise of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) his vicegerency in every respect devolved to Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddique (radhiyallahu anhu). By virtue of the Bay’t (Oath of Allegiance) of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, he was appointed the Khalifah. While Qur’aanic verses allude to Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s khilaafat, the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) in this regard are explicit.
“Allah and the Mu’mineen refuse to accept (anyone) but Abu Bakr.”,is explicit on the issue of Abu Bark’s succession. The most important consideration in this regard is the total accord between the hearts of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) and Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu). This has been stated clearly by Hafiz Ibn Hajr (rahmatullah alayh). – Laami’, Vol. 2, page 452. Numerous incidents bear testimony to the mutual accord and unity of their hearts, e.g. the anecdote of Abul Hatheem’s invitation which has already been explained a few pages earlier. Also on the occasion of Hudaibiyyah, the answers which Hadhrat Abu Bakr gave to the questions of Hadhrat Umar were the same as those given by Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) although he (Abu Bakr) was not aware thereof. Regarding the captives of Badr, the opinion of Hadhrat Abu Bakr conformed to the opinion of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم).
The description of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) given by Ibn Daghna conforms to the description of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) given by Hadhrat Khadijah (radhiyallahu anha).
In addition to these clear indications of his succession, Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s khilaafat was established by the popular Bay’t of the Sahaabah after the demise of Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم).
According to the most authoritative version, his name was Abdullah. During the time of Jaahiliyyah his name was Abdul Ka’bah. Some say that his name was Ateeq. However, the reliable version is that Ateeq was his title.
His genealogical tree is:
Abdullah the son of Abu Quhafah, the son of Amir, the son of Amr, the son of Ka’b, the son of Tameem, the son of Murrah, the son of Ka’b, the son of Luway, the son of Ghalibil Qurshi Taimi.
The lineage of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) meets with that of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) in Murrah Bin Ka’b.
The name of his father, Abu Quhafah was Uthman who embraced Islam in the 8th year of Nubuwwat at the age of 90 years.
Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) is known by a variety of titles. According to Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha), while house-folk would call him Abdullah, he was generally known by the title, Ateeq. Some say that he was called Ateeq because of his handsomeness. Others say that on account of his eagerness for virtue he was named Ateeq. Another view is that he is called so because his lineage was free from the slightest blemish. According to the narration of Tirmizi, the reason for the title of Ateeq is the announcement of his salvation from Jahannam.
His famous title, however, is Siddique. There is difference of opinion regarding the occasion when he was awarded this title. According to some, he was known by this blessed title even during the time of Jaahiliyyah because of his outstanding quality of truthfulness. However, the well-known version is that on the occasion of Mir’aaj, Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) was apprehensive about people acknowledging the truth of this miraculous journey. Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) assured Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) that Abu Bakr will acknowledge its truth because he is a Siddique.
In Taafikhul Khulafa is recorded the narration of Mustadrak in which Nazal Bin Subrah said:
“We asked Ali regarding Abu Bakr. He said: ‘He is a man who was given the title of Siddique by Allah via the agency of Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) and Muhammad (صلى الله عايه وسالم); in Salaat he was the representative of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). The man whom Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) chose for our Deen (i.e. Salaat), we chose for our Dunya (Khilaafat).”
According to Tibrani, Hakeem Bin Sa’d narrated that Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) took an oath that the title Siddique was revealed by Allah from the heavens for Abu Bakr.
Abu Bakr’s Acceptance of Islam
Among the first persons to accept Islam was Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddique (radhiyallahu anhu). When he presented himself to Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) for accepting Islam, he did not request for any miracle to be displayed. He only asked about the Prophethood and immediately accepted Islam. According to Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم), he had discerned a degree of uncertainty in everyone to whom he had presented Islam, save Abu Bakr who accepted Islam without the slightest hesitation.
In the inceptional stage of Islam, the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam concealed their Deen because of the oppression and persecution of the kuffaar. When the Muslims numbered 39, Hadhrat Abu Bakr requested permission to propagate Islam publicly. After persisting in his request, Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) consented. Taking a small group with him, Hadhrat Abu Bakr went to Baitullaah and delivered a Khutbah. This was the very first khutbah of Islam. Although his prominence and honour were accepted in the community, as he commenced the khutbah, he was so severely assaulted that his face was dyed red with his blood. His nose, ears, etc. were badly wounded. It was difficult to recognise him. He was beaten, pushed and kicked. They did with him whatever they had desired. The severity of the assault rendered him unconscious. His tribesmen brought him home where he revived during the evening. The first words which came to his lips were:
“How is Muhammad (صلى الله عايه وسالم)?”
On hearing these words, those who were caring for him, left. They were astonished and angered because of his devotion for a man who was indirectly the cause of the calamity which he had suffered.
His mother, Umm-e-Khair insisted that he partakes of some food and drink, but he took an oath that as long as he has not seen Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم), he will neither eat nor drink. After the greater part of the night had passed and all was quiet, he went to Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). He cried profusely and so did Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم). The Sahaabah too broke down with grief and were in tears. In this meeting, Hadhrat Abu Bakr requested Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) to make dua for the guidance of his mother. The dua was made, and she embraced Islam the same day.
A separate volume is required to record the life-story of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddique-e-Akbar (radhiyallahu anhu) irrespective of the brevity of the biography one wishes to write. How then is it possible to write comprehensively on even one aspect in these few pages? The fact of him being the first to accept Islam is of the greatest significance. This act of his requires considerable elaboration. Then there is the episode of his contemplated migration to Abyssinia. He set out with this intention, but was met along the way by Ibn Daghnah who persuaded him to return. Ibn Daghnah said:
“A man of your calibre can neither be expelled not leave (of his own accord). You are the source of livelihood of the destitute. You are kind to family members. You lift the burden of people. You are hospitable and you aid others in their affairs.”
Referring to Hadhrat Abu Bakr, the Qur’aan says:
“…the second of the two, when both were in the cave (and he) said to his friend (Abu Bakr): ‘Do not grieve. Verily, Allah is with us.”
The companionship of Hadhrat Abu Bakr with Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) is confirmed absolutely by this Qur’aanic aayat. Every word of this Qur’aanic statement attests to the lofty status of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddique (radhiyallahu anhu). There are numerous conspicuous evidences confirming his love and devotion for Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). His migration to Madinah Tayyibah in the company of Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) is very significant. What then can one say and write of his excellencies?
In Surah Al-Lail are the praises of the one who spends in the Path of Allah. This pertains to Hadhrat Siddique who rendered his acts of charity for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. He also is given the glad tidings of the happiness of Jannat.
He is the very zenith of Sulook, having attained the pinnacle of Divine Proximity and Association. In the beginning of Hijrat he received this absolute announcement. Thereafter, for ten years he remained in the companionship of Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) acting at times as his vicegerent and representative. What can a humble man such as myself (i.e. the noble author) in this fourteenth century write of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s excellences and lofty status? Never can any pen render justice to this subject.
In his attributes and character he was unique. On the occasion of the irtidaad (reneging from Islam) of certain tribes, he displayed unparalleled courage which stunned even the brave Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) who had cautioned against immediate action. Rejecting the proffered advice of caution, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) taunted Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for his indecisiveness in dealing with the murtaddeen. He thus said:
أَجَبَّارٌ فى الجاهليّة وَ خوّادٌ فى الاسلام
“What! You were powerful in the time of Jahiliyyah and (now behave) cowardly in Islam!”
Hadhrat Umar’s testimony is ample evidence for the lofty status of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s knowledge, virtues, generosity, munificence, piety, forbearance, patience, humility, intelligence, expertise in the interpretation of dreams, knowledge of genealogy, prose, eloquence, etc.
Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) said that whoever narrates a hadith to him, he would as a precautionary measure put the narrator under oath, except Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu). He was far above this measure.
This true and devoted companion and successor of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) embodied in him every excellence and qualification to the degree of perfection.
A few anecdotes pertaining to the abundance of his ibaadat and the force of his Imaan which in fact are the basis of the Chishtiyyah, will now be presented.
Ibn Asakir records the narration of Ibn Sireen in which it appears that Abdur Rahman (the son of Abu Bakr), who had not yet embraced Islam, had joined the kuffaar in the Battle of Badr. One day after he had embraced Islam, he said to his father:
“In Badr you were in my line of action. However, being my father, I turned away from you.”
In other words, although he was in position to slay his father, Hadhrat Abu Bakr, he did not do so due to paternal consideration. Hadhrat Abu Bakr replied:
“If you had come in front of me, I would not have hesitated to slay you.”
Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) was originally a trader. According to historians he possessed 40,000 dinars (gold coins) at the time of entering the fold of Islam. He continued to spend his wealth for the sake of Islam until finally he brought whatever was left to Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) for use in a Jihaad campaign. When Nabi-e-Akram (صلى الله عايه وسالم) enquired of the provisions he had left for his family, he replied:
“I have left for them Allah and His Rasool.”
Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was always awaiting an opportunity to surpass Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) in an act of virtue. On this particular day he had brought along considerable wealth. When Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) asked him:
“What have you left for your family?”
Hadhrat Umar replied that he had left half of what he had owned for his family. The other half was his contribution towards the Jihaad effort. He was under the impression that he would surpass Hadhrat Abu Bakr on this day. But, when he learnt of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s answer, he understood that he would never be able to surpass him in virtue.
Precisely on account of these manifold excellencies of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) did Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) say that besides Abu Bakr, he had compensated the favours of everyone else. On the Day of Qiyaamah, Allah Ta’ala will compensate him.
The Strength of His Imaan
Ismaili narrates that Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“When Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) passed away, the episode of irtidaad occurred in Arabia and people of defective faith refused to pay Zakaat, I went to Abu Bakr and said:
‘O Khalifah of Rasulullah! Be tender with the people and win over their hearts. Terror has struck them.’
Abu Bakr said: ‘I was hoping for your aid. During the time of Jahiliyyah you were very strong and hard. But in Islam you have become weak. In which matter should I win over their hearts? Should I win them over by means of fabricating poetry or by bewitching them? Alas! Alas! Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) has passed away. Wahi has ceased. I swear by Allah that I shall wage Jihaad against them as long as I have in my hand the strength to bear a sword. If they withhold from me even a string which they used to present to Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم), I shall fight them.”
Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) commented:
“I found Abu Bakr firmer and stronger than myself. He had paved the path and this simplified for me the affairs during my khilaafat.”
The Khalifah’s Wages
Ibn Sa’d narrates that Ata Bin As-Saib said that after Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) was appointed the Khalifah, he was going to the market-place with some sheets on his arm. When Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) questioned him, he said: “I have been harnessed into the affairs of the Muslims. I am now going to the market-place to obtain food for the family.”
Hadhrat Umar said: “Let us go to Abu Ubaidah. He will arrange a wage for you.”
Abu Ubaidah was in-charge of the Baitul Maal. Both went to Abu Ubaidah. A sum which sufficed for a middle class Muhaajir was fixed as the Khalifah’s wage. According to some narrations the wage was insufficient for his needs because of his large family, hence it was increased.
Tibrani narrates that Hadhrat Hasan (radhiyallahu anhu) said that Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) during his last illness, instructed Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha):
“After my death hand over to Umar this milk-camel and dish which were given to me on account of my khilaafat.”
Thus, after his demise these items were assigned to the custody of Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). Thereupon Hadhrat Umar lamented:
“Abu Bakr! May Allah have mercy on you. You have imposed a great difficulty on the khulafa who will follow you.”
Hadhrat Umar meant that others will not be able to exercise this high degree of caution.
Abu Bakr’s Death
He was born two years and some months after Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). It appears from some narrations that he was older than Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم). However, the Ulama say that this latter view is not correct. When he reached the age of Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) – 63 years – he died.
Regarding his last illness, there is difference of opinion. According to Hadhrat Umar’s narration in Hakim, a spiritual grief overtook Abu Bakr after Rasulullah’s demise. This increased by the day until he passed away.
According to Zuhri, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) was given some poisoned food which he and Harith Bin Kaldah (radhiyallahu anhu) ate partly. Both remained ill for a year and died on the same day. Hadhrat Sha’bi (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“What can one expect from this despicable world? Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) was poisoned and so was Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu).”
Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) says that the 7th Jamadith Thaani, a Monday, was an extremely cold day. Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) after taking a bath became feverish. On account of the cold the fever was severe for 15 days. He was unable to attend the Musjid for Salaat. He died on Tuesday 21st Jamadith Thaani during the night. According to some narrations, he had asked Aishah what day it was. When he was told that it was Monday, he said:
“When I die, do not delay my burial.”
Another narration states that he had asked to be told the day on which Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) had died. When he was informed that it was on a Tuesday, he said:
“I too hope to die tonight.”
The duration of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s khilaafate was two years, three months and nine days.
1) Once when his wife expressed the desire for something sweet to eat, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) said that he had no money with which to buy anything. His wife suggested that they should save something from their daily food allowance. Within a few days the amount saved will be sufficient to buy something sweet. Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) consented. She began saving a small sum daily. After a few days, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “It is apparent that this amount (which was being saved daily from the food allowance) we are receiving from the Baitul Maal is in excess of our needs.” He then took the savings and handed it to the Baitul Maal. He further issued instructions for his wages in future to be decreased by this amount.
2) Once Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) went to the orchard where he saw a bird sitting in the shade of a tree. He heaved a sigh and said:
“O bird! How fortunate are you! You eat the fruit of trees; you sit in their shade and you will attain salvation in the Hereafter without having to give an account. I wish Abu Bakr too was like you.”
Frequently he would exclaim to himself:
“I wish I was the property of a Muslim servant of Allah.”
“I wish I was a tree that could be cut and eaten.”
“I wish I was grass which animals could eat.”
3) Asma’i said: “When Abu Bakr was praised, he would say:
“O Allah! You know my condition better than me and I know my condition more than these people who are praising me. O Allah! Make me better than what they are thinking of me and forgive my evil of which they are not aware. Do not apprehend me on what they are saying.”
4) Once during his khilaafat he was seeing off the army which was proceeding to the land of Shaam. He accompanied the army for a very long distance. His companions said:
“O Khalifah of Rasulullah! You are walking on foot while we are riding.”
Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) responded:
“With these steps I am seeking forgiveness for my sins. These steps of mine are in the Path of Allah.”
5) He said:
“Glory to That Being Who has left no avenue of His Ma’rifat for His servants except their inability of acquiring His Ma’rifat.” (i.e. This inability becomes the avenue. Despite effort, man is unable to acquire Ma’rifat of Allah. Allah Ta’ala ultimately, opens up the way for the acquisition of His Ma’rifat.)
(The inner, deeper and spiritual recognition by the baatini heart of Allah Ta’ala is termed ma’rifat. The bandah cannever acquire divine Ma’rifat by his efforts and worship. The created and finite mind and heart of man are wholly incapable of mounting the Platform of Ma’rifat of the Uncreated, Infinite and Eternal Being. But when this weak bandah yearns for his Beloved Creator and Master and he moves his weak hands and legs in the direction of his Rabb, then Allah Ta’ala taking pity on His struggling servant opens up the avenue of His Ma’rifat. This is the meaning of the afore-mentioned statement of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), the greatest Sufi after Rasulullah (Saws) — Translator)
6) He said:
“Once a man has tasted Divine Love, he will have no time for this world and he will feel claustrophobic in the company of people.”
7) During his maradhul maut (last illness) people coming to visit him, said:
“O Khalifah of Rasulullah! Should we call a physician for you?”
Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) responded:
“The physician has already seen me.”
They asked: “What did he say?”
Abu Bakr said: The physician said:
“Verily, He does as He pleases.”
8) Once when a hunter was brought into his presence, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“An animal is killed and a tree is cut when their term of Thirkullah ends.”
9) Sometimes when the camel’s rein slipped from his hand, he would make the camel sit down, alight and pick up the rein himself. The companions would query: “Why do you not order us?” He would reply: “My Beloved (صلى الله عايه وسالم) ordered me to refrain from asking people.”
10) Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that sometimes when Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) would speak of man’s creation during his khutbah, he would say that man emerged twice from the place of najaasat (impurity): once from the father’s private organ (in the form of a sperm drop) and once from his mother’s private organ (at birth). This reminder of the reality of man’s lowly origin would exercise a profound effect on the audience. Realising their lowly origin, the people truly understood their insignificance. In fact, they felt themselves to be physically and spiritually impure and contaminated.
11) He would say:
“O people! Cry in fear of Allah. If you are unable to cry, simulate crying.”
12) Once in his khutbah, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“Where has gone the handsome one whose face was beautiful; who was proud of his youth? Where is the king who had established cities? Where is the brave soldier who conquered in the battlefield? Maut has destroyed them. They are lying in the darkness of graves.”
13) Among his numerous saying are:
“Beware! Never despise any Muslim. Even a Muslim of low rank is great by Allah.”
“I found holiness in taqwa (abstention from transgression); wealth in yaqeen and honour in tawaadhu’ (humility).”
“I heard your Nabi (صلى الله عايه وسالم) saying: ‘Seek from Allah Forgiveness for sins and safety in the Aakhirat.”
“O Allah! Show me the truth and grant me the taufeeq to follow the truth. Let me recognise falsehood and give me the taufeeq to abstain from falsehood. Do not confuse truth and falsehood for me. Do not enslave me to passion.”
“Whoever becomes displeased with his nafs for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep him safe from His displeasure.”
“The greatest understanding is taqwa and the greatest ignorance is transgression and immorality. The greatest truth is observance of trust and the greatest falsehood is misappropriation of trust (amaanat).”
“If you accept my advice, then of the unseen things love death the most because it will come to you most assuredly.”
“When a person becomes proud on account of some worldly adornment, Allah becomes displeased with him (and remains displeased) as long as he does not completely dissociate from that adornment.”
14) Once when Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) recited some heart-rending poetry, Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) said:
“Don’t say this. Rather recite this aayat:
“The pangs of death have arrived in truth. This is it from which you would flee.”
[Ma’shaikh-e-Chisht, Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Zakariya (r.a.)]